British values and the Prevent duty

This spotlight related to childcare in England only.

From 1 July 2015 the Prevent duty became law. This is a duty on all schools and registered early years providers to have due regard to preventing people being drawn into terrorism. In order to protect children in your care, you must be alert to any reason for concern in the child’s life at home or elsewhere. This includes awareness of the expression of extremist views.

British values are a set of four values introduced to help keep children safe and promote their welfare – as is the duty of all providers following the EYFS; specifically to counter extremism.

The promotion of British values is firmly embedded in the work that you do. Check out this jargon-free blog to discover what it means for you in practice.

This wheel shows how values, learning and development and safeguarding and welfare are all integral to the EYFS. It is a visual reminder that promoting and modeling British values is already part of the daily routine. A downloadable copy of this poster is available in the PACEY shop from just 99p.


In addition to this, The Counter Terrorism and Security Act also places a duty on early years providers “to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism” (The Prevent duty), effective from 1 July 2015. Find out more about statutory guidance here.

The Department for Education has also produced some departmental advice on meeting the new duty that you can accesss here.

To help you understand what this all means for you as a childcare professional and how to follow and support this in your setting we've taken the key information and put together a quick guide below:

What are British values?

  • Democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty
  • Mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs

In England the EYFS will be updated to reference providers’ responsibilities in the light of Prevent duty and Ofsted will include this in their inspection of early years and childcare. 

Common Inspection Framework, British Values and You


Written by an Ofsted inspector, this handy guide explains how inspection procedures in childcare settings have changed and includes a free poster showing how British values are integral to the EYFS.


What is the Prevent duty?

From 1 July 2015, all schools and childcare providers must have due regard to the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism.

The government has defined extremism in the Prevent strategy as: “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British Values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs." 

Childcare and Early Years Providers subject to the Prevent duty will be expected to demonstrate activity in the following areas:

  • assessing the risk of children being drawn into terrorism.
  • demonstrate that they are protecting children and young people from being drawn into terrorism by having robust safeguarding policies.
  • ensure that their safeguarding arrangements take into account the policies and procedures of the Local Safeguarding Children Board.
  • make sure that staff have training that gives them the knowledge and confidence to identify children at risk of being drawn into terrorism, and to challenge extremist ideas which can be used to legitimise terrorism
  • expected to ensure children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet

What does this mean in practice?


As a childcare and early years provider you have a critical part to play. Early years providers serve arguably the most vulnerable and impressionable members of society.

In England, the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) accordingly places clear duties on providers to keep children safe and promote their welfare.

It makes clear that to protect children in their care, providers must be alert to any safeguarding and child protection issues in the child’s life at home or elsewhere (paragraph 3.4 EYFS).

Check out this fantastic jargon-free blog from PACEY childminder member and Associate Andrea for a break down of what this means for you in practice.

Here at PACEY we provide a range of resources to support the delivery of the EYFS that you can find in MyPACEY members area.

Check out this guide full of suggestions and ideas to help as well as where you can find more information in your member benefits. This featured in the latest issue of Childcare Professional and you can access the full article here. 

We also have a handy factsheet of FAQs on the Prevent Duty on MyPACEY and a downloadable copy of the EYFS and British Values poster is available in the PACEY shop from just 99p. Plus you can get the full guide: Common Inspection Framework, British Values and You, including the poster for free here.

Foundation Years have also produced a helpful guide that gives examples of what the promotion of Fundamental British Values in the early years means in practice.

This includes:

Democracy: making decisions together, for example giving opportunities to develop enquiring minds in an atmosphere where questions are valued.

Rule of law: understanding rules matter as cited in Personal Social and Emotional development for example collaborating with children to create rules and codes of behaviour.

Individual liberty: freedom for all, for example reflecting on their differences and understanding we are free to have different opinions

Mutual respect and tolerance: treat others as you want to be treated, for example sharing and respecting other’s opinions.

It also highlights clearly what is not acceptable, for example, failure to challenge gender stereotypes and routinely segregating girls and boys. You can access the Foundation Years full guidance here.

It's important to remember that the Ofsted Common Inspection Framework that was implemented September 2015 includes reference to “providers promoting children’s welfare and preventing radicalisation and extremism”.

Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills settings - Guidance for inspectors undertaking inspection under the common inspection framework - June 2015 also makes reference to the Prevent duty and keeping children safe from dangers of radicalisation and extremism.